Tamarindo Getting Around
Driving into Tamarindo, the scenery changes quickly from rural farmlands to busy streets jammed full of bronzed surfers heading to the beach and curious travelers checking out the many souvenir shops. After you pass Las Baulas National Marine Park and the landmark Best Western Hotel, the main road runs parallel to the beach for 1.5 miles (2.5 km.) until it ends in a small cul de sac. The sidewalks are lined with pharmacies, boutiques, restaurants and hotels to accommodate visitors.
At the town's first intersection, (before the cul-de-sac) there is an eastbound road that forks to the left leading to more shops and accommodations - all within a mile of the center of town. Continue two miles further south and you will end up in Playa Langosta, home to many luxury condos and upscale hotels on the beach.
Travelers staying in Tamarindo can easily access all the town's amenities on foot although several hotels are located on back roads, which can be dark and dented with pot holes. A taxi ride home at night is recommended (average price $2-$4). The roads in Tamarindo are mostly unpaved and during the dry season - from December to May - the dust can be overwhelming. The dust can change to mud during the green season (from June to November) so make sure to pack your rain boots!
Large families or travelers looking to explore the surrounding beaches such as Playa Avellanas or Playa Negra can rent a car at the airport or at multiple locations in Tamarindo. Bike rentals are also a great way to explore the town's back roads and the village of Langosta.
There is an easily visible fleet of yellow cabs parked at the main taxi stand in front of Plaza Conchal (take a left at the town's main intersection near Hotel Zullymar). Some taxis charge you based on a meter, others - especially those independently owned - prefer negotiated flat rates (see below). Three options include: CGT Taxi (2254-6667); TG344 Taxi (8918-3710, 8879-3171) and Rafael Taxi (8835-3714).
Sample one-way taxi fares (2012):
- Tamarindo to Langosta: $2-$6
- Tamarindo to Huacas: $15-$20
- Tamarindo to Flamingo: $25-$30
- Tamarindo to Brasilito/Conchal: $25
- Tamarindo to Playa Grande: $25
Bus & Shuttle
There are several options for public bus and private shuttle transport from Tamarindo to nearby destinations. Public Buses: The 3 public bus lines accessible in Tamarindo are a great and inexpensive way to tour Guanacaste's best beaches, tiny towns and crowded cities. Each bus has a different route and makes frequent stops along the way.
La Pampa: Tamarindo - Liberia (2665-7520) Trip Duration: 2.5 hours Cost: US$2.5 (1,275 CRC).
From Tamarindo: Buses depart at 3:30 a.m.; 4:30 a.m.; 5:45 a.m.; 7:30 a.m.; 9 a.m.; 10:00 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.; 1 p.m.; 2:15 p.m.; 3 p.m.; 4:15 p.m.; 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
From Liberia: Buses depart at 3:55 a.m.; 5:15 a.m.; 8:10 a.m.; 10 a.m.; 10:10 a.m.*; 11:10 a.m.*; 1:10 p.m.; 2:10 p.m.; 4:10 p.m. and 6:10 p.m.
*Note: The 10:10 bus takes a different route and goes through Flamingo and then Tamarindo. The 11:10 bus takes a different route and goes through Flamingo, Brasilito, Matapalo and then Tamarindo (this trip takes 3 hours).
Traslapa: Tamarindo - Santa Cruz (2680-0515) Trip Duration: Around 1 hour Cost: US$1.3 (650 CRC).
From Tamarindo: Buses depart at 7 a.m. and 2 p.m.
From Santa Cruz: Buses depart at 12:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Trip Duration: Around 1 hour Cost: US$1.3 (650 CRC).
Alfaro: Tamarindo - San Jose (2222-2666, 2255-0775) Trip Duration: Between 6 and 7 hours Cost: US$10 (5,000 CRC).
From Tamarindo: Buses depart at 3:30 a.m.; 5:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
From San Jose: Buses depart at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Two popular companies shuttle travelers to destinations like San Jose, Nosara, Samara, Mal Pais, Quepos, Monteverde, Arenal and more in a comfortable air-conditioned van.
Gray Line: (2220-2126)
Interbus: ( 2653-4376)
Tamarindo has 7 different rental companies where visitors can rent both standard and manual transmission cars for around $50 a day. It's recommended to choose a vehicle with 4-wheel-drive as roads are unpaved and can be harsh on cars. If you don't plan on staying in Tamarindo, this is definitely the most convenient way to explore the area. Travelers must have a valid driver's license from their home country to rent a car – an international driver's license is not necessary. Some companies include: Alamo (2653-0727); Budget (2436-2000); Economy (2653-0752); Eurocar (2653-1809); Hertz (2653-1358); Mapache (2653-1717) and Thrifty (2653-0829).
For those looking for some scenic exercise, several bike and adventure shops offer daily rentals. Mountain bikes generally rent for $20 a day and beach cruisers - $10 a day. Tamarindo Bike Shop, across from Witch's Rock Surf Camp, road to Tamarindo (2653-2136); Blue Trailz Hostel & Bike/Surf Shop, road to Tamarindo next to Alamo Rental Car (2653-1706) and Iguana Surf, road to Tamarindo next to Koi Sushi Lounge (2653-0148). Note: The main road to Tamarindo can be crowded with lots of traffic - cyclists should use caution.